Urban Wilderness

Urban Wilderness Red wing black birds called. A Carolina wren repeated its “wichety-wichety” incessantly. A red-headed woodpecker sounded its distinctive burry trill. Ground hogs skittered under the brush when seen. Wild grape vines choked every open area. Tall grass prairie surrounded the houses across the street. This is Flint. The humidity hung on your shoulders like a heavy sopping blanket. There was no escaping it. Sweat ran down my arms until my work gloves were sodden like a dish sponge. We were cutting up the remains of a demolished garage and its contents. Probably forty years of neglect: old oil filters, children’s toys from the 1950’s, car parts, rusted screwdrivers

What’s our name?

What’s our name? God is the author of the most effective name changes in history. Think of Abram to Abraham; Sarai to Sarah or Jacob to Israel. Yet even more famously, from Simon to Peter and from Saul to Paul. God promises: “To the one who conquers …I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17) What’s a name? A name is identity. When God gives a new name in scripture it’s an emblem of a new identity. Getting a new name is akin to a new birth or a new creation. When we are baptized, we take a new name. We are marked by God’s name—the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our church has had three nam

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